Zambian Cultural Heritage – Chewa Persons – Their Background and Tradition

Harmony Cardenas

The Chewa people today of Zambia live in the Japanese Province of the region. The language of the Chewa is Chichewa and Chichewa talking people are Malawi and Mozambique. The motive for this is that traditionally prior to the white colonial masters arrived to Africa, the Chewa people today of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique had one particular ruler – His Royal Highness Kalonga Gawa Undi. But when the colonialists arrived and developed countrywide boundaries, the Chewas had been divided and observed on their own living in a few countries with different colonial masters. Zambia and Malawi fell below the British colonial rule whilst Mozambique belonged to Portugal.

On the other hand, the Chewa ongoing to recognise on their own as a single in spite of colonial rule and new country boundaries. The conventional Zambian Chewa headquarters are in Mkaika, Katete and these days ceremonies (in individual the Kulamba Ceremony) acquire put each individual calendar year that carry the leaders of all a few nations collectively.

The Chewa persons are known for their like of farming and in certain for their craftsmanship – the ladies for their pottery techniques and the adult men for their competencies in building bamboo basketry, hoes, axes, arrows, reed mats and palm tree leaf mats. The males are also great hunters and fishermen and these techniques are thought to carry honour to manhood. The Chewa are really hard functioning people today who are regarded to despise any variety of laziness believing that it qualified prospects to the demeaning exercise of begging.

The sacred web-sites of the Chewa

  • The royal cemetery at the Mano headquarters in Malawi
  • The shrines at Msinja and Mankhamba
  • The grave of Undi Chisakamzondi who dies although travelling in Mozambique
  • Kaphirintiwa in Malawi wherever marks in the rocks resembling human and animal footprints which is believed to be the spot of development
  • The ancestral graves at the Mkaika Regular Headquarters

The Chewa clans

The original two major clans were being the Banda who historically ended up healers and mystics and the Phiri who ended up explained to the aristocracy. Other clans are:

  • The Mbewe’s regarded to take pleasure in the delicacy of mice having (though the Phiri’s and Banda’s will also take pleasure in this delicacy)
  • The Kwenda clan which comes from the phrase ‘mkwenda’ which usually means ‘the stripper’. The tail suggests a person from the Phiri clan inappropriately stripped his sisters’ apparel while travelling – the relaxation is history!
  • The Mphandwe clan who are an offshoot of the Banda clan. The story goes that a male eloped with a girl of his clan (a disgraceful point to do) and as a final result desired to be acknowledged as Mphandwe not Banda
  • The Mwale clan from the word ‘kumwalira’ which usually means ‘to die’. Historical past suggests there was a bloody combat in between two groups of men and women because they shot an animal and could not agree on how to divide the head.
  • The Linde clan from the phrase ‘kulinda’ which usually means ‘to watch’. This was the group who did not join in the previously mentioned battle but as a substitute viewed about the carcass of the animal that was currently being fought above.

Management and political organisation

Interestingly the standard Chewa social structure is matrilineal – property and land rights are inherited from the moms and it is the woman’s bloodline which retains the lineage alive. The common Chewa leader is usually male but the descendance is carried as a result of the feminine side deriving its identity from the girl and villages are manufactured up of matrilineal kinfolk by relationship.

The total Chewa chief is recognised as the Kalonga Gawa Undi who is in demand of all Chewa chiefs who in turn supervise village headmen. Kalonga Gawa Undi has the pursuing which means:

  • Kalonga: ‘one who identifies and installs business office in others’
  • Gawa: ‘one who allocates land and shares prosperity with others’
  • Undi: ‘one who safeguards citizens, holding them underneath his wings as a fowl guards its young’

People in line for leadership compete for their Chieftainship suitable but contrary to well-known belief this does not essentially indicate conflict. Sensible chiefs will select a nephew as their successor and send out out their other nephews to create subordinate chiefdoms. In reality, this process has prevented key dispute for generations.


The Chewa persons will take offense if they are mistaken for the Nyanja for the reason that this propagates the colonial misinterpretation of their origin. Though the Nyanja and Chichewa languages are comparable they are distinct and to say they are just one and the identical denies the validity of the Chichewa language.

An additional taboo is to mention, phone or compose the birth title of the successor to the Kalonga Gawa Undi. The workplace of the Kalonga Gawa Undi need to be viewed to hardly ever die. Just before the burial of the Kalonga Gawa Undi his successor is preferred by the royal family and the birth identify of his successor is ceremonially buried collectively with his forerunner. The title of the present Gawa is for that reason only Kalonga Gawa Undi XI.

This posting is impressed by the e book ‘Ceremony! Celebrating Zambia’s Cultural Heritage’. It can be incredible and a visually satisfying e book which I would inspire you to get. I bought mine from ZAIN in Lusaka, Zambia. It is revealed by Celtel Zambia PLC and Seka. Authentic pictures, Francois d’Elbee. Coordinating creator, Tamara Guhrs. Editor, Mulunga Kapwepwe. Contributing authors, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, Prof Mapopa Mtonga, Mulenga Kapwepwe, Isaac Smogy Kapinga, Miranda Guhrs, Msatero Tembo, Matiya Ngalande and Joseph Chikuta.

Zambia encourages travellers to witness regular ceremonies and you will discover regional tourism company providers individual beneficial.

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